Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Decomposed Granite Trail Drama Continues

As mentioned in my earlier post, tonight the Costa Mesa City Council will meet to discuss a variety of things.  This post addresses Consent Calendar item #7, the "BUDGET ADDENDUM TO ENGAGEMENT OF LEGAL SERVICES LETTER WITH MEYERS, NAVE, RIBACK, SILVER & WILSON AS SPECIAL LEGAL COUNSEL ON FAIRVIEW PARK".  You can read the staff report HERE, which includes links to the original December 6, 2013 agreement and the proposed extension of this assignment.

The original agreement was for $50,000, which has apparently been used up.  This addendum extends the assignment and requires another $38,190, which will come from CEO Tom Hatch's million dollar contingency fund.

The reason for this extension is very interesting.  Here's the section of the extension agreement that describes what this will cover:
We are presuming this deals with the destruction of vernal pools in the Southwest Quadrant of Fairview Park - that effort directed by current Mayor Steve Mensinger and described in the correspondence provided by public records requests by city staffers as "Steve's Path" - that has required thousands of dollars to attempt to mitigate.  It's our understanding that the mitigation work was completed many months ago, so I'm wondering what this legal work is all about?
 User Defined Trail
 Graded Path
Decomposed Granite Path
Removal Process
  • The first item is curious, since we thought that function had already been completed.
  • The second item - permits - is also curious.
  • The third item involves working with "enforcement special agents" from the USFWS.  On what?
  • The fourth item involves meetings and correspondence with the U.S. Attorney!
So, what's the story here?  It's been nearly two years since Mensinger directed City Staff to "do something" about the user-defined path that ran along the fence line that separated the Waldorf School/Estancia High School from Fairview Park.  That path encroached in at least one protected vernal pool and the "fix" - the decomposed granite trail that was wide enough to drive a dump truck on - further defiled those protected areas.

USWFS enforcement officers?  U.S. Attorney?  What's the nature of this situation right now?  We won't find out unless someone pulls this item from the Consent Calendar and asks those questions.  Even then, there's no assurance that we'll actually get answers.

All the current hoopla about sports fields in Fairview Park - which has been put on hiatus for now - could be cut off at the knees if the USFWS, in concert with the U.S. Attorney, finds that we, The City, have been poor stewards of this land and slams the door on any further "enhancement" of that land.  Who knows... maybe they will take the management of Fairview Park away from us... it's my understanding that it could happen.

All this because a guy who would rather spend his recreational time plugging helpless critters using a high-powered rifle with a scope than try to protect the habitat within our city boundaries.  This is a guy who apparently cannot stand to see a patch of land without a playing field, parking lot, multi-story dwelling complex or shopping center on it.  Let's hope his actions have not done irreparable damage to our relationship with USFWS on this issue.  If it has, he - personally - should be held accountable.

My final question on this issue is, since this whole thing is a direct result of HIS actions - which has cost the City thousands of dollars in legal and mitigation fees - should Mayor Steve Mensinger be excluded from ANY conversation and vote on this issue?  It seems appropriate for him to be excluded on this issue.

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Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Stevie needs to pay for whatever he's responsible for. How are he and his buddies gonna blame "the unions" for this?

4/07/2015 06:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I would like to know why this should cost the city anhything. This fiasco is Steve's personal mess and the city should not be involved at all. Its not the taxpayers responsibility to bail him out of his careless and stupid actions.

If that is the case, then maybe another issue should be brought up as that is misappropriation of funds to use taxpayer money for his personal problems.

4/07/2015 07:12:00 AM  
Anonymous jrs36 said...

I'm sure it mostly has to do with the USFW letter that you discussed here. http://abubblingcauldron.blogspot.com/2014/07/us-fish-and-wildlife-addresses-fairview.html The biologists was hired to deal with the fencing issues for ALL the ponds. There is still an issue with that fencing relative to the model sailplanes in the Park so we have been following the developments closely. We have been told that the USFW plan is excessive and that the City would support less restrictive fencing requirements -- we were also told that the biologist also supports this. Hopefully that is the case. Recall that letter does say that any punishment from the DG path fiasco was separate from the fencing issue and would be pursued independently.

4/07/2015 08:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Stevie should not only be excluded from this discussion/vote, he should be forced to reimburse the city (us) for every cent of expenses/costs associated with his illegal path (more like a road) in FP. He should also be forced to resign from the cc for his illegal actions with regard to building this path and his continued silence/denial of his primary role in this destruction of federally protected vernal pools and land. As a CM resident and taxpayer I object to paying for what amounts to a private citizen's illegal actions and defense thereof.
No doubt, though, that Stevie has already ordered (pressured) the city attorneys to concoct some convoluted legal mumbo jumbo for tonight's cc mtg as why it's ok for him to participate in the discussion/vote on this subject tonight. I can only hope the Feds throw the book at him personally since the path was ALL his doing.

4/07/2015 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

Of course we should pay. We should pay and be thankful. It is all about the children. They have enlightened us with their strong brand of reign! We need to pay for their fields! We need to pay for their parties! We need to pay for their Mayor's Balls! We need to pay for their friends and donors and personal trainers to have plaques and be honored! We need to open our city to accommodate the group homes their friends lobbied for! We need to pay for the re-zoning so their developer friends can vertically build! We need to pay for all their attorney friends to cover up all their messes. After all, laws are meant to be obeyed by the lowly citizens of Costa Mayberry. We are so lucky that they are above the law.

Now, shut up, and send them to Las Vegas.

4/07/2015 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Dumb Biker said...

Is that snack bar there still illegally wired and the theft of utilities still going on? Wonder who oversaw that? The city did pick up up hazardous waste there also costing the taxpayers more money. I wonder who requested that? Is there a pattern here?

4/07/2015 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Q. How many lunkheads does it take to build a road inside a park?

A. We might never find out.

4/07/2015 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous breaking bad said...

Hiding behind kids and using them as shields for the underhanded things they do. Great leadership.

4/08/2015 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I heard it was the "Unions" fault.


It must be true because the current council is all about "Transparency."

As a life long Republican, I have had to hold out hope that the far right wing of my own party will be overtaken by those who actually want to find solutions and not dictate their own, while only being for their own benefit. We are not fools and while they scream "Union, Union, Union," they barely cling to they very few positions of power left, while offering no real action or solution. Unless changes are made, it is only a matter of time before the party is left in a shambles.

Transparency is one sided and a joke. Really Gary, "Old News." It's only that way because of your majority on council refusing to be men and accepting responsibility. Don't get your way, then try again. Voters reject your vision, then find a different way of getting "It" done. Make a mistake, pretend it didn't happen. Need a committee, but don't like their findings, create a new way to justify your future actions. Not only a waste of money, but everyone's time. Thank You for that. Many of us cannot wait for the door to hit you on the butt on your way out.

It is disturbing, and Costa Mesa is the prime example, of a political group identifying an enemy, placing blame and attempting to come to the rescue from those evil folks, regardless of the cost. Sound familiar? Where else in history can we find examples of leaders using an enemy to create problem and offering the only solution?

Good luck Costa Mesa, I have my fingers crossed!

4/11/2015 11:47:00 AM  

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